Feb 27, 2019
Cancer can affect fertility in both men and women from adolescence through adulthood. Fertility preservation is often not addressed soon enough during cancer treatment, but it should be a standard component of comprehensive care for pre-pubertal and reproductive-age patients.
According to data collected during Round One of 2018 by ASCO’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®), fertility preservation options were discussed or a referral to a fertility specialist was made for approximately 32% of charts, and infertility risks were discussed with patients of reproductive age prior to chemotherapy on 46% of charts.
ASCO’s 2018 Fertility Preservation in Patients with Cancer Guideline stresses the importance of having these conversations with patients: “Although patients may be focused initially on their cancer diagnosis, providers should advise patients regarding potential threats to fertility as early as possible in the treatment process so as to allow for the widest array of options for fertility preservation.”
“In this era of improved cure rates, retaining the capacity to have biologic children post-cancer treatment is of great importance to those diagnosed with cancer during adolescence and young adulthood,” said course faculty member Jennifer Levine, MD, MSW. “Interventions such as sperm banking and egg/embryo freezing prior to starting treatment mitigate the risks that complicate some cancer treatments. But access to these interventions cannot occur unless someone on the team brings it up in a timely fashion.”
To further educate providers on the importance of having this discussion with patients, ASCO University, ASCO’s comprehensive online learning center, launched its course on Fertility Preservation. The course focuses on a variety of aspects including:
- Implementing Fertility Preservation: Discussion of treatment options, consequences of treatment, and fertility preservation techniques for adolescent and adult men and women
- The Conversation: How, when, and why providers need to address fertility preservation with their patients
- Perspectives: Health care providers who treat patients with cancer of various age groups, as well as patients themselves, share experiences of addressing fertility preservation
Structured in a case study format, the eLearning course presents real-world scenarios for participant providers to fulfill the following learning objectives:
- Describe the importance of fertility preservation as part of comprehensive cancer care for pre-pubertal and reproductive-age patients
- Identify the treatment risks that pose the greatest risks to fertility for adolescent and adult patients
- Discuss the fertility preservation options that are available
- Examine key aspects of engaging patients in decision making around fertility preservation
- Explain the role of a fertility preservation team in providing fertility preservation
This course offers 5 CE/CME/CNE/ CPE credits and 5 MOC Points for completion. Access Fertility Preservation on ASCO University.